Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stargate Universe






Okay, I'm a Stargate Universe fan. I like the show so much, I'll stay up to midnight to watch it. And if any of you know me, that's saying something because I'm definitely a morning person.



I like that they analyze the show afterward. It helps with my writing, believe it or not.



Take last night's show for instance. It was the fall finale and was excellent.



For those of you who aren't up on this show, it's a spin off from the other Stargate shows and this one has an unlikely and sometimes unlikeable humans who are on a distant planet by way of the stargate, but when the planet is under attack, they are forced to take the gate, hoping to get back to earth, but who find themselves on an ancient star ship far from earth. The mix of people is delightful, and each has both good and bad qualities.



Colonel Young, the leader, dislikes Rush, the leading scientist, because he's a bit of a know-it-all who is bitter about the loss of his wife. Eli is the nerd who can do just about anything because he's smart, but has pretty much no incentive unless his butt is on the line. There's a nurse who is struggling to be doctor to all, and there's Young's protegee, Scott who appears to love Cloe, the senator's daughter who adds a bit of class to every room, but whose virginity was lost sometime around the Clinton administration.

There are some darker characters, but what I love about the show, especially last night's episode, was how the writers are putting the pieces together slowly and tantalizingly. The space ship has a chair that appears to be able to inject all the ship's knowledge into whoever is seated in it, but could kill you in the process.



Rush refused to risk his own life, but rather was willing to risk others, much to Young's fury.



But Young isn't so perfect and justice filled, either. He's already proved that he could beat up people who act up, as he did in a previous episode.



Last night's show had one scientist, a secondary character succombing to the temptation and sitting in it. He's in a coma now. Young blames Rush, of course, because he doesn't like him.



This isn't all that's happened. A troubled soldier on board commits suicide, and Rush decides to frame Young, to get him out of the leader's seat and get Rush more freedom to experiment on the chair, something Young refuses to allow.



In the midst of that, the gate opens and allows them to check out a planet, something they need to do for food, water, etc, because so far, no replicators on this ship. The recon team finds another space ship, and Young takes Rush to investigate. But there, Young confronts Rush about his framing him for murder, then beats the snot out of the scientist.



Then leaves him on this distant planet.



Now, you may not like Young for this, and people are saying the stress of being on this space ship is getting to him, but I think he had it in him all along.






Now you may be bored stiff here, but let's look at this from a writer's POV. Young has already proved he'll do the dirty stuff if he feels like it, but we were fooled to think it was for a good reason only. He's been shown to prevent a fight by punching the aggressor, and he's already beat up a rival colonel for sleeping with his wife. All for the greater good, you think.



So this latest is a believeable act for him. Only, it's not for the greater good, at least not completely.



And because we've learned that there is another spaceship and Rush is now alone on the planet with it, we know Rush has everything he needs to get home. He's smart, motivated, and has a ship now.



But the motley crew on the ancient ship aren't without an ubersmart scientist. They have our nerd, but also that scientist who sat in the chair. Sure, he's in a coma, but they aren't up a creek without a paddle. It's amazing how the writers are piling on the problems for the people, but hope dangles in front of them. Our nerd who won't get off his butt is now motivated to step in and help. The writers have left some big carrot for us to follow.



Can we authors leave some carrots for our readers? Can we make our characters as believeable, too? Can we twist our plots around but still have them fully motivated, like they did with Colonel Young? Can we add tension and hope all at the same time?



Check out the show if you can and see for yourself how the writers are planting motives and suppositions in our minds, only to turn them around.



You'll be impressed.
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